While Shaun White perfects his half-pipe routine, punk rock artists Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in prison. As NBC welcomes Apolo Ohno to its winter coverage team, NGOs in Russia struggle to survive. And as the spotlight turns to the 2014 Olympics games in Sochi and as the International Olympic Committee is issuing assurances that gay visitors would be safe in Russia, the Russian government and authorities are instigating a campaign of homophobia that reveals an ugly truth about the country’s human rights record. The spotlight turns to Russia as the world prepares for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, revealing an ugly truth.
Since we last told you about Dow Chemical’s controversial Olympic sponsorship, things seem to have only gotten worse for Dow Chemical – from a public relations perspective anyway. Along with Dow Chemical’s horribly insensitive comments, the increased media attention has only revealed additional ethically troubling business practices.
The International Olympic Committee and games’ organizers continue (for now) solidly and uncritically back Dow as a sponsor, despite harsh criticism from Amnesty and others. But if Dow Chemical was hoping that it might benefit from the benevolent glow of the Olympic spirit of international goodwill, the past few weeks have not been kind.
A commissioner for a body monitoring the sustainability and ethics of the London 2012 Olympics has resigned over its links with Dow Chemical, the company mixed up in one of the worst corporate related human rights disasters of the 20th century.
Meredith Alexander is quitting the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012. It describes itself as an independent body which “monitors and assures the sustainability of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Ms. Alexander, who is Head of Policy for the charity ActionAid, told BBC’s Newsnight why she was resigning:
“I feel I was part of a lobby which legitimized Dow’s claims that it had no responsibility for Bhopal…This is an iconic case. It’s one of the worst abuses of human rights in my generation and I just could not stand idly by.”
The International Olympic Committee loves to think of their event as a not just a sporting event, but as a tool for furthering peace and social justice around the world. Furthermore, The Olympic Committee’s guidelines on sourcing are meant to place a high priority on environmental, social and ethical issues when contracting for the Games.
But how then can London’s 2012 Olympic Games justify giving chemical giant Dow Chemical a high profile contract in light of Dow’s failure to address one of the worst corporate related human rights disasters of the 20th century? You can tell the Olympics’ leadership about the legacy of Bhopal that Dow Chemical refuses to address and ask them why they ignored this tragedy when giving this juicy contract to Dow Chemical.